Saturday, June 7, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Saturday! All is well here at 811. Daddy update:  He is doing much better and says he is feeling fine. The Doc planning for him to go home on Monday morning.  Giving great thanks. Our infant great nephew is being baptized tomorrow.  Please pray for this precious new little family as they step forward in faith further committing their lives and family to God; Stephen, Stephen and Oliver Wallace.

God, please help me to sense your presence and rest in your care. Thank you for giving me a solid place to stand though the world around me quakes.  Thank you for the gift of words. Thank you that words can bring peace and sustain us by your grace. I pray that the words you give to me bring you glory. Thank you that your words bring me great joy.  I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

Do you ever find yourself so overwhelmed that you have lost your perspective and the ability to prioritize or even see clearly how to accomplish all that must be accomplished? I have had these feelings and thoughts this week. The last time I felt like this was while I was in seminary and the assignments were running close together and I was afraid I would not be able to meet my deadlines. This feeling of possibly not being able to meet   deadlines or accomplish what must be done shakes my confidence. There are times when I think Satan is working really hard to win the battle. Then I hear Daddy’s voice in my ear, “Gaylene, have you talked to God about this?”  

I pray because God knows my heart and I have enough faith to believe that God will provide a way and help me.  There were times when King David’s confidence was shaken by his enemies and God continued to sustain him giving him victory. David learned that God was with him and that reality gave him peace. David experienced the presence of God and was given the strength and stability to continue.

So once again, I am talking to God and asking for help. I am planting my hope firmly in God that I will be able to continue to care for my Dad, meet my ordination requirements, continue radiation and take care of some other issues.  My prayer will be that God will stretch my time, provide the help I need and bring peace to my soul.

“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Psalm 61: 2
“You have been a refuge for me, a strong tower in the face of the enemy. I will live in Your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of Your wings.”
Psalm 61: 3-4
Take joy in the journey and when time is running short ask God to stretch your time. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Friday, June 6, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
TGIF Today God is First!  Happy Friday!  We are home and all is well here at 811. I will be home until Dad is discharged and then I will go and stay with him for a few days until he gets his strength back . I need to get back on my radiation schedule.  He is 81 years old and with the exception of some very specific issues of heart bypasses and gall bladder removal he has never been sick. So if you combine, pneumonia, highly elevated heart rate, life threatening INR (cumidin) level, my sweet Dad became very sick. He was also beginning to fall due to extreme weakness from being so very ill. I got him to the Doc and the Doc sent him to the hospital as a direct admit on Wednesday.   IV antibiotics, steroids and wonderful hospital care are doing their work and he is feeling better each day. When I left him today he was smiling, telling stories and teasing nurses.  Thank you all for you prayers and being such mighty and faithful prayer warriors. 

Dear God, you know exactly what my loved ones need. I will continue to pray for Dad as I have for the last few days and pray with him and for him. I pray that he feels the comfort only you can give through the presence of his family. Lord, I look to you and ask you to fill my life and the life of my family with overflowing peace as Daddy heals. Please keep all of us in the palm of your hand especially Dad. Our family loves you Lord and is staying very close to you now.  In Jesus name , amen.

It has been quite a week.  I have missed writing each night. Dad lives out in the country and getting a signal is kind of hit and miss. Phone calls and computer work is not very easy out there.  But spending time with Dad is a really interesting experience. Seeing him fragile, frail and weak was really tough. It is an interesting experience to be the care giver of the one who has always given care to you. It is hard to know what to say when it is your parent who is ill and all you want to do is help.  While I am a trained pastoral care giver, it is my best role is just to be a daughter. While I cannot share his burden of illness I can express my love for him by just being near and hopefully being a comfort and letting him know he is not alone.  But I have learned some things in the last few days. Dad has fully placed his life in God’s hands. While Dad has been a man of faith he not always been very vocal about his faith.  But now if my brother or I ask him about what he thinks about a decision we either made or about to make before he gives an opinion he asks, “Have you talked to God about this?”  Dad knows where to start (even if he is stubborn about going to the Doc!) God hears the prayers of my praying Dad, his children, and those who are offering prayers on his behalf.  I am very blessed. 

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to you, when my heart is faint.”
Psalm 61: 1-2
“I cry to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”
Psalm 57: 2
Take joy in the journey and pray for each other with an extra one for my Dad.  His name is Jerry Helvey. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, June 2, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday!  All is well here at 811. 12 treatments down and 22 to go. 

Dear God, than you for your mercy to me. Help me to meet other’s needs with your sincere compassion and profound sympathy.  Keep me strong as I serve you. Remind me that it is not about seeking others’ approval or earthly rewards, but in glorifying you. Thank you God for those who lift, encourage, affirm and teach me on this journey of my life.  Yes, sometimes the road is not what I expect, but I always expect you to be with me whether I look to the right or the left. You have poured out you love on me and called me to serve in your kingdom here on earth.  Lord, please help me to keep faithfully serving you no matter what the world tells me.  I love you so much Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

Sometimes I wonder if God gets tired of my neediness.  The extraordinary truth is that God through Jesus relates closest to the neediest of people.  While I am not hungry, or without shelter or suffering  the ways of others, I do understand suffering. A friend of mine today said, “I do not know why you have been given the gift of suffering.”  I never thought of the tough times I have been through as gifts, but perhaps they have been placed in my path so that God could work through me to help others. Even more than that perhaps God will use me to let others know how he shares in their suffering, loves them so much and understands sustaining them too.  That is my hope and believe my calling by God to be.  While I cannot look into the lives of people as Jesus did I can serve by walking along side of those who are in need and are suffering. One of my questions on the list for ordination is how do I identify myself as a pastor in the representative  ministry of Jesus and Christ’s Church?  I suppose I could say that I identify with many of the identities of Jesus. I however strongly identify with these two; a midwife and a wounded healer.  A mid-wife is one who delivers a life out of darkness and into light. I am a mid-wife when I am at the bedside of one who is dying and passes from this life in darkness and into the eternal light of God’s presence. I am a wounded healer when I minister to the family of the one who has died and walk along side of these grieving, broken souls because God has sustained me through the suffering of Jesus.

In whatever way each of us has been called to serve one thing is true.  When we compassionately see someone’s need we are not only acting for Jesus, but we are following our baptismal promise to follow and act like Jesus acting out of mercy toward them.

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these children of Mine, you did for Me.”
Matthew 25: 40
“I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me.”
Matthew 25: 36
Take joy in the journey and remember that serving God is not always easy, but it is always worth it!  Wear comfortable shoes because journeying in uncomfortable shoes would be awful!  Get some sleep and think pink!   Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Blessed Sunday and Happy June!  All is well here at 811.  Bruce finally came home around 11: 30 very tired, but very happy to be working.  Bruce and I had a date this evening.  We went to see Maleficent.  Well, Maleficent is magnificent!  I highly recommend you go and see it.  Do not let anyone tell you anything about it because it is not what you are expecting. 

Dear God, not only do I believe you exist and can do anything, but I also completely trust that you love me enough to help me. Teach me to pray for those who do not know you and to act wisely as I live my life for you.  I love you so much Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

My devotional  book I read from each evening is divided into month long themes with a brief verse to begin the study. 
“More than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.”
Matthew 6: 33

The definition of faith is one we can usually recall from memory or at least paraphrase; “being completely assured of what you hope for and absolutely certain of what you do not see.”  This is a verse we need to write on our hearts and claim out loud when everything around you goes against hope. This verse tells God and the world that we have complete confidence in God.  There are not many absolutes in this life but if you look at this verse the words assured, completely assured, certain, absolutely certain…these words proclaim that God can do the impossible. 

But we are human with doubts and yet we still ask the question, “Does God really love me enough to help me?”  My faith has to say, “Absolutely yes!” God showed his love for us in the life of Christ, but it is our choice to love him back by faith, being fully assured that God will not fail us.  Each day when I have a radiation treatment I pray a few things; I pray that God will be with me. I pray that God will help me. And I give thanks for the radiation that is killing any cancer cells that might be remaining. (and I count ceiling tiles.) When I begin to tackle the 100 questions for ordination I ask for help and that God will be with me and to not be overwhelmed and to take one question at a time.  May I be clear, concise and above all else be found faithful.  So my friends whatever you pray for pray in faith, pray for help because we have this wonderful God who loves us beyond our farthest reaching imagination and is there to help us with an unlimited storehouse of love for each of us.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11: 1
“May the Lord direct your hearts into [realizing and showing] the love of God and into the steadfastness and patience of Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 3: 5
Take joy in the journey giving thanks that God loves us enough to be patient with each of us. Wear comfortable shoes because a journey in uncomfortable shoes would be just awful!  Get some sleep and think pink! Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene